Monday, August 4, 2014


If you've ever watched the movie Beaches, you may remember the part where Cici's mother and she were having a conversation about her need for constant attention.  How she wanted the constant attention of everyone she was around and she wore everyone out to the point where they could no longer deal with her.

I believe there are people who just need more attention than others.  I know that I am one of them.  My husband is a work-a-holic.  I know that sounds crazy, but I think those of us with an "ism" can recognize another with an "ism" when we begin to recover.  And my husband is a work-a-holic.  When I met him, he was working for Boise State University, a job that he traveled *maybe* twice a year for.  Then he went to Capital One in their IT dept, and since their HQ are in Richmond, Virginia, he was traveling much more often.  Then, the Boise office closed, and we had several months of severance pay, during which he was able to find another job.  He worked there only a couple of months, because a different job with better pay came up, at Blue Cross of ID.  Travel slowed quite a bit, which was great.  And for two and a half years, everything seemed pretty good.

Then, Shad got the "itch".  Lots of politics in the world of insurance companies, even in IT.  And in big corporations, there are all the loopholes and garbage that went along with that.  So, Shad started interviewing for jobs.  To "keep my interviewing skills sharp."  Well, he was offered a job with the company he currently is working for.  It was a very small company, less than 50 employees.  Travel required.  But when we talked with another employee of that company, he said, "it's only travel for 2-3 days a week, and usually not every week."  We talked about it and pondered, etc., and I knew it was something he really wanted to do, so I told him it would be fine, even though I was extremely wary of the amount of travel that would be done.  This was summer of 2008.

October of 2008, he was asked to take on a project in Salt Lake City, as the company was trying to expand into that area.  It would basically mean he would be working as a consultant for the state of Utah, and he'd need to be there five days a week and home on weekends.  I found out while visiting my parents in FL, and we needed to make a decision rather quickly, he'd be leaving the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I was really worried, but we talked about it and I knew he wanted to do it because he was so new at the company and was still trying to establish a relationship with the sales reps, one in particular.  He was worried about me because his travel up to that point had been fairly hard on me.  I told him it would be fine because he'd be home every weekend, etc.  It was most certainly not fine.  I'm not sure the point at which things just went crazy.  I had shoulder surgery in the beginning of November that year, had to find someone to help me to physical therapy twice a day because I wasn't even allowed to move my arm on my own.  Needless to say, it was not a good start to the project.

I also started home schooling my younger daughter due to some problems she was having.  She is on the autism spectrum and she was really having difficulty adjusting.  She was having problems with some girls who were just nasty and mean.  I home schooled her from the beginning of October til mid February and by the time I got her re-enrolled in school, I was suicidal.  Basically, the long story made short was that I stopped functioning.  I have still not become fully functional.

Summer of 2007 was when he took what he likes to refer to as a "hobby job", working with the drum line of Nampa High.  (The story of how this came to be is far too long for me to relate right now.)  Anyway, at that point he was only working during the summer, and he wasn't included in any of anything else that happened.  I was fine with that.  I think he was too, at the time.  The first year he didn't even get paid.  The second year he got $500.  Then the band director "retired" and most of the existing staff with him.  Shad was the only one who stayed.  It was devastating to the kids when that happened, Nampa was winning DIII yearly and had been for quite some time.  Shad didn't get a say in the new director, even though they said he would.  The hiring process was done before anything else was said to him about it.

Fall came, and we met with the new band director.  Thankfully, we both loved him and he and Shad have really worked together quite well.  I loved that he was from Iowa, which is where I grew up, and he was young, so he'd be able to relate to the kids well.  There has been a deep mutual respect between Shad and him from the beginning.

Every year, I'd complain and say that this was the last year Shad was going to do this.  Then, miraculously, marching band would be over and I'd have enough respite to go again through another season.  Last year, however, was RIDICULOUS.  Extremely difficult, filled with drama from kids and ADULTS, (which, honestly, GROW UP, people.  If you're old enough to vote, stay out of the drama BS.)  Parents of some who were threatening to sue over this, that and the next and I'd had it.  I decided for sure that it would be his last year.  When it was mentioned to the band director, he said, "When Shad leaves, I leave."

My jaw just dropped open.  I think it may have even had flies go in.  Shad and I had long discussed the detrimental effects that kind of crap had on the kids.  There were kids who dropped band when Dr. Stone retired and never gave the program a chance.  What could I do?  There was NO way I could make sure I had what I needed while making sure that the band kids, whom I love dearly, would not lose TWO directors instead of just one.   Friday night, we had a dinner and a band booster meeting, where the band director sat next to me and said, "Is this going to be Shad's last year... Again...?"  I was furious.  I love this man, I love his wife.  He has no kids of his own, however, so no matter how bad a day with the band kids might be, he doesn't have to take any of them home with him.  We have two kids in the band.  We have another starting college in the fall with the unrealistic expectation of not taking out ANY loans.  And we have three more on the autism spectrum which brings its own lovely challenges to the party.  And, we're a blended family.  So we get all sorts of advice on how to deal with our kids, but most of them come from people who don't understand the uniqueness of our situation, or don't have children, or both.

Shad travels with his "real" job rather extensively.  Last week he was gone.  He was gone the week before that, AND the week before that.  During all of that time, *I* am taking care of everything.  This is NOT what I signed on for.  During band season, which goes from the first full week of August until (this year) the first week in November, I rarely see my husband.  There are times when he goes directly from the airport after being gone for days to the high school for rehearsal.  I have a great deal of frustration over this.  I always come AFTER the jobs, no matter what it is.  And then I have someone being sarcastic and shitty about it, not realizing the amount of sacrifice on my part that goes in to having my husband have a second job that takes away from my family constantly.

My kids are only going to be young once, and the sad part about it is that when they look back on their childhood, they are going to remember that their dad was ALWAYS gone and their mom was always pissed off about it and, therefore, yelling constantly.  When I'm pissed at him, it gets taken out on the kids.  Is it right?  No.  Is it real?  Unfortunately.

SO - here I sit on the first day of band camp, alone, watching the three autistic super heroes while I sit in my pajamas.  Yesterday,  I was in bed ALL day, with the exception of when I was being seen at the urgent care for a UTI that was one of the worst I've ever had.  Pain in my bladder and kidneys had me doubled over and having so much blood in my urine that it was pink.  I am still in my pajamas today, at almost one-thirty in the afternoon.  And there's not a damn thing I can do about it.  Nothing.  I cannot even get off my chair right now to deal with the dogs or anything else.  I'm just tired.  All the time.  So, you know... keep poking at the bear.  Because one of these days, the bear is going to attack like a wounded, wild animal.  You have fun with that.

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